How To Select A Walk Through Metal Detector and Basic Tips

Walk through metal detectors generally fall into one of two categories. The first of those is the walk through metal detector that provides single zone detection. The second group of detectors is designed to deliver multi zone detection. The Garrett MT 5500 is one of the most basic multi zone detectors and will generally let you see whether the target is on the right or left side. To give you a better understanding of what that actually means, let’s look at an example. Imagine you have a person walk through the metal detector with a weapon of some kind strapped to their ankle. Both sets of detectors would automatically locate the target, but the multi zone detector would be able to tell you which ankle the weapon was concealed on. If you want to get even more specific, you can do so with a detector like the Garrett PD 6500. It can detect from head to toe and side to side to give you a specific target location.


The ability to pinpoint the exact location of the target means that security personnel can quickly and efficiently respond to the issue. Locations that see a lot of through traffic will benefit greatly from a multi zone metal detector, as they can process greater numbers of people more quickly.

Single Zone Walk Through Metal Detectors:

Multi Zone Walk Through Metal Detectors:

Where can walk through metal detectors be found and what are their uses?

It wasn’t so very long ago that metal detectors were only ever used in such places as airports and prisons. They are far more commonplace nowadays, with schools, police stations, private buildings, and night clubs just a few of the locations where they can now be regularly seen. Many private companies, particularly those are have large warehouse types facilities, also employ metal detectors to help with loss prevention and security. The list goes on, with courthouses, sports arenas, transportation terminals, and historical landmarks also using metal detectors. As strange as it may sound, it was a roller skating rink that was among the first locations to use walk through metal detectors over a quarter century ago.

Which configuration is best?

The metal detector you choose will depend on whether you will be setting up at a single location or moving from place to place. If you operate a business that is frequently on the move, you will want a walk through metal detector that is both portable and lightweight.

Setup and operation:

As technologically advanced as todays metal detectors are, they are in fact easy to setup and operate. You will generally find an instructional DVD and detailed manual with your unit. Factory preset programs are usually in place on your detector, but those can be adjusted to suit your specific needs by using a touch pad and LCD display. The settings you choose can be adjusted to suit your specific location or to locate weapons and objects of your choosing. You can even set the level of sensitivity so that a larger number of targets can be located.

Crowd control and organization are an essential part of the setup of your metal detector. It’s imperative that every single person that comes and goes through your location be asked to walk through the detector. You can reduce the risk of hold ups and false positives by providing a small basket for individuals to place their metallic object, such as watches, jewelry, etc., before stepping through. The better organized you are, the more effective your metal detector will appear.

Do I need a security metal detector wand?

Walk through metal detectors will help you identify if anyone passing through is carrying a concealed item on their person. To pinpoint exactly where that item is located, you should use a metal detector wand. You can use the wand to quickly detect the exact location of the item, at which time you will be alerted with an audible tone, a target ID light, a vibration, or possibly even a combination of all three. The wand is a must have accessory of you plan on using a walk-thru gate.

Popular Metal Detector Security Wands: